The Apartment

That time we met, I was broken. You know that, don’t you? I needed to hide, to heal. But I didn’t have any shelter or medicine. I wandered day and night in search of them. And then you were there. You didn’t ask me about my scars and wounds. You didn’t avoid me like the rest of them. You smiled at me every time I needed it. I didn’t need to think out my actions around you. You didn’t mind that either. You were happy with my company.

Those little silly things you did made you look like a joker. You were being a joker for me. You didn’t care how they looked at you when you did. It only mattered that you made me laugh. And boy did I laugh, that laughter was my medicine. It was a good regular dose, something I needed. It felt good to be around you. You were my shelter. I’d found my hiding place.

It was much more comfortable than I expected, that apartment. The wooden floor was smooth, the leather couch was cushy, and the light brown curtains let in just the right amount of light. And i did heal – slowly but surely. My scars lost their color little by little, becoming my old skin again. My wounds turned into scabs. I was doing better.

I started to feel a little claustrophobic. As much as I loved this place, I couldn’t just sit inside all day anymore. I needed a walk. Maybe a drive. But you were there too, and you didn’t see my restlessness. Or did you? I couldn’t tell. But I let it slip and stayed a bit longer, even though I couldn’t understand how you could not see. Maybe it wasn’t visible enough?

You still hadn’t asked me about me wounds. It seemed a little eerie that you hadn’t, it’s not something you can ignore when you’ve given someone your apartment. So I told you the gist of it and you were fine with that. Just like you were fine with everything else. I felt relieved that you knew, but it was strange that you didn’t ask me anything more. I would have asked if I were you. I would have asked a long time ago too. But now you know and that’s that.

The apartment was comfortable. You were still being a joker for me. And i still laughed at your jokes, though you kept telling me the same ones over and over. I guess you noticed that much, so you started telling me my own jokes, which was worse. But that’s alright, I was almost completely healed. You were still being the joker for me, and that was what mattered.

A little time passed as I got to know you. And in that whole time I didn’t leave the apartment. I needed fresh air now. So I told you I’d step out for a minute. You asked me “why?” like it was an abomination. And I couldn’t understand why you asked me that way. I couldn’t stay for so long. But you let me go without me answering, and so I did. And you followed me out, not knowing the reason, which was eerie too. The air – why is it so different outside? I was astonished. You were still being a joker for me though. So I put it at the back of my mind. Hey, this person on the street. I knew her, and you knew her. You were being friendly as usual, and I admired that about you. I can’t always be nice to people. You treat everyone the same – except me of course? Ah more people, and you’re being just as warm, even though I’m already tired of meeting them. I could sense the shift in attention, it didn’t bother me much. But that’s how you are.

I had to go to the other side of town. I told you I did, and I knew you had business to take care of. But you came with me instead, and left your work for another time. We walked the whole way there. I though that was so sweet of you. And we walked back. Halfway to the apartment, I was tired. I couldn’t talk anymore, I needed silence, but you wouldn’t stop despite my expression. You didn’t see it. Then I had to say “lets not talk” to make you stop. You looked at me like I overdid it, even though I hadn’t, it was only because you didn’t catch it yourself that I had to say it, but that can happen to anyone, so I apologized and we walked in silence. Maybe I need to think about my actions.

We met more people now. This time, people I didn’t know. And you met them the same way you did before, while i now stood there awkwardly. Each person, even though you knew i was tired, was talked to for just as long. And you gave them more attention than before, maybe because I didn’t know them? But that was you, and I didn’t mind it. In silence we made it back to the apartment, and I noticed the difference in the air. I couldn’t describe it, maybe it was the perfume you used? But I had never noticed it before, and that bothered me, I couldn’t place my finger on it. But then I looked in, and there were some others there as well! On your wooden floor and cushy sofa, other people. And I couldn’t ask you who they were, I was afraid you’d give me the look again. You didn’t tell me about their coming. Their being there didn’t feel right. My face questioned you though my words couldn’t, and you smiled at me with the same old smile of yours, ignoring it like you did before. What did that mean, why did you smile? I was puzzled and followed you in anyway. You gave your couch, your floor, your curtains to them? Why? Who are they? I live here too. And none of them care about your apartment as much as I do. “Look at the stains on the floor and food on the couch, look at the curtains, ripped from the windows” I said, stunned. I had always kept it exactly the way you gave it to me. “That’s okay” you smiled again, leaving me in a daze. I watched them as they watched you. They watched you be the joker. You didn’t mind me being there. You didn’t mind me watching. I watched as I tried to understand what it was you were trying to accomplish. Before I could, the party was over. They left, and they left your apartment in horrible condition. You just smiled at me, and I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I watched you cleaned the mess, doing it like it was as easy as breathing. So simple. You were freaking me out, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I left. Without telling you. And it felt so good to be alone, away from you. The suffocation was gone in your absence. Maybe it wasn’t the apartment, and you were the one suffocating me. Not maybe, it was surely you. I though it all out, something was very wrong, but what? I came back the next day, searching for answers, I needed to observe you more closely. The apartment was just the way it was when I first came. But more surprisingly, you didn’t make anything of my absence. I would have been angry if I were you. I would have screamed at me too. But I’m not you. The sofa, the floor, the curtains – all fixed. No one would be able to tell if anything had happened here at all. How many such parties had you had before? I was devastated because I couldn’t tell, I asked you. And you said “Many, darling” like you were piercing my heart with a honey-coated knife. How simply the answer slipped from your mouth. Didn’t you care about anything? My insides were crying out loud, but as expected, they weren’t loud enough for you to hear. Because you didn’t want to hear, and I know that. So I stayed and watched. Watched you, knowing that the apartment was never mine, and you were never what I thought you to be. Now that I didn’t take up your attention, you had more parties. More messes to clean up. I watched you clean them till my eyes burned red, with anger and with exhaustion. And you weren’t bothered at all, but I was. You were there, and you didn’t see my restlessness – I could tell that you didn’t. And I didn’t let it slip anymore.

I had never been to a hotel before, so I never knew what it was like. They are so luxurious, but expensive. But hotels must have their charm, because people choose to spend time there, days, weeks. You can’t stay in a hotel for long though – there is no place like home. Hotels aren’t meant for permanent stay. And you are fine with that. Just like you are fine with everything else. You are friendly with everyone as usual, and are busy being everyone’s joker. You don’t care how anyone looks at you. You are happy with just about anyone’s company. But that’s just how you are. Everyone else knew this about you. That’s why they never stuck around after a party. They didn’t expect anything. Then I said I’m leaving for good. I couldn’t stay anymore. You looked at me like I overdid it, even though I hadn’t. I didn’t apologize. I have new wounds to take care of.

I gathered myself and left. I didn’t know that this is a hotel room. Or that you are it’s butler.


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